This Playbook (released in June 2019 by our Youth Leadership Development program and already shared within the youth agency sector across the GTA) is a best practice example of a Civic Action Project for young learners. Everything needed to start a CAP program is available in this Playbook, from lesson plans to additional resources.
At our YMCA, youth in the CAP program work in project teams to take meaningful and concrete actions to help mitigate an identified community challenge (such as racism, housing inequality, or environmental issues/climate change, for example). In this program, they have a space to discuss democracy and politics, generate ideas to improve political engagement, develop critical thinking skills, develop a political voice, and discuss how to actually improve their communities and lives.
From the Preamble: “Approximately 26% of youth aged 12-19 years old report a weak sense of belonging (Statistics Canada, 2010-2011). Factors such as youth disengagement, the lack of adequate civic knowledge and a feeling of
disempowerment all contribute to the feeling of being disenfranchised….The YMCA of Greater Toronto’s Youth Leadership Development (YLD) program aims to empower young leaders with the awareness, knowledge and skills to help. The Civic Action Project (CAP) initiative and Playbook curriculum have been designed [as a key component in the YLD program] to help address this gap.”